Hypo-egoic self-regulation: exercising self-control by diminishing the influence of the self.

Journal Article (Review;Journal Article)

Theory and research dealing with self-regulation have focused primarily on instances of self-regulation that involve high levels of self-reflection and effortful self-control. However, intentionally trying to control one's behavior sometimes reduces the likelihood of achieving one's goals. This article examines the process of hypo-egoic self-regulation in which people relinquish deliberate, conscious control over their own behavior so that they will respond more naturally, spontaneously, or automatically. An examination of spontaneously occurring hypo-egoic states (such as flow, deindividuation, and transcendence) suggests that hypo-egoic states are characterized by lowered self-awareness and/or an increase in concrete and present-focused self-thoughts. In light of this, people may intentionally foster hypo-egoism via two pathways-(a) taking steps to reduce the proportion of time that they are self-aware (such as repeating a behavior until it is automatic or practicing meditation) or (b) increasing the concreteness of their self-thoughts (such as inducing a concrete mindset or practicing mindfulness). In this way, people may deliberately choose to regulate hypo-egoically when effortful control might be detrimental to their performance.

Full Text

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Leary, MR; Adams, CE; Tate, EB

Published Date

  • December 2006

Published In

Volume / Issue

  • 74 / 6

Start / End Page

  • 1803 - 1831

PubMed ID

  • 17083667

Electronic International Standard Serial Number (EISSN)

  • 1467-6494

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

  • 0022-3506

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1111/j.1467-6494.2006.00429.x


  • eng